NATO launches Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum

NATO on Friday, June 12, launched its first ever Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum (CTRC). It supports interested Allies and partner countries in enhancing their capacities to develop national skills and improve counter-terrorism strategies.


NATO on Friday, June 12, launched its first ever Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum (CTRC). It supports interested Allies and partner countries in enhancing their capacities to develop national skills and improve counter-terrorism strategies.

The Curriculum will also serve as a reference document to address partner nation defense educational institution requirements and will provide helpful guidelines for relevant existing NATO courses. Drawing on historical examples, the CTRC provides an overview of terrorist ideologies, motivations and methods, as well as contemporary counter-terrorism practices and potential future projections.

Launching the Curriculum, Dr. Antonio Missiroli, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Emerging Security Challenges stated: “Security challenges like terrorism are not diminishing because of the global pandemic. Terrorism undermines our safety and the very values that underpin and inspire our societies. The Alliance is committed to address this threat with all available means. Supporting improved awareness, strengthening resilience and building counter-terrorism capacity of both Allies and partners are all part of this effort, and the CTRC perfectly fits these objectives. I would like to thank all those who helped make this Curriculum possible, including the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE).”

Partners can significantly benefit from using the CTRC for the development of their own tailored courses on Counter-Terrorism. This support will be provided and facilitated in the framework of NATO’s Defense Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP). Dr. John Manza, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Operations, highlighted: “The Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum will be available to all interested partners and Allies. DEEP will work diligently to help partners who request support in implementing tailored versions of the curriculum for their professional military education institutions. In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, and reflecting other longer-term trends, NATO will also work to implement the Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum as a distance course, available to all partners who wish to use it in their institutions. Supporting our partners in this way makes us all stronger in the face of a common threat.” 

Dr. Sajjan M. Gohel, the CTRC’s co-editor and academic project lead from the Asia-Pacific Foundation and the London School of Economics (LSE) added: “The CTRC is designed to provide users with a robust, holistic and nuanced comprehension of terrorism as well as improve potential counter-terrorism outcomes for NATO members and partners. The curriculum reflects NATO’s innovative best.”

The NATO Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum is the result of close cooperation between the Defense Education Enhancement Programme (DEEP) and NATO`s Counter-Terrorism Section, as well as the Partnership for Peace Consortium. Over 100 experts from nations across five continents, including from Tunisia, Jordan and Mauritania, as well as multiple international organizations contributed to the writing, drafting, and editing of the final product.

NATO.int (June 2020) NATO launches Counter-Terrorism Reference Curriculum

DOJ OIG Releases Report on the FBI’s Efforts to Identify Homegrown Violent Extremists Through Counter-terrorism Assessments

Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) efforts to identify homegrown violent extremists (HVE) through counter-terrorism assessments from October 2012 to September 2018.


Department of Justice (DOJ) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) efforts to identify homegrown violent extremists (HVE) through counter-terrorism assessments from October 2012 to September 2018. The FBI defines HVEs as global jihad-inspired individuals who are in the United States, have been radicalized primarily in the United States, and are not receiving individualized direction from a foreign terrorist organization.

Since September 11, 2001, HVEs have carried out over 20 attacks in the United States, some of which occurred after the FBI closed a counter-terrorism assessment or investigation on the individual.

The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the FBI had not taken a comprehensive approach to resolving deficiencies in its counter-terrorism assessment process. The specific findings in today’s review include:

Weaknesses existed in the FBI’s counter-terrorism assessment process. Following attacks by individuals previously assessed or investigated by the FBI, the FBI conducted reviews to identify weaknesses and areas for improvement in the FBI’s process for assessing potential HVEs. However, the FBI did not ensure that all field offices and headquarters implemented recommended improvements and subsequent policy requirements. As a result, FBI field offices continued to conduct some counter-terrorism assessments that did not meet FBI requirements or standards.

The FBI did not adequately execute an enterprise-wide review of closed counter-terrorism assessments. In 2017, the FBI conducted an internal review of closed counter-terrorism assessments to ensure that the investigative effort and oversight of these assessments were thoroughly conducted in order to identify potential threats to national security and mitigate risks to public safety.

Through this effort, the FBI identified that 6 percent of the closed assessments it reviewed did not adequately assess the potential threat, and warranted additional investigative action. However, nearly 40 percent of these counter-terrorism assessments went unaddressed for 18 months after deficiencies were known to the FBI. As of February 2019, the FBI reported to the OIG that necessary investigative measures have now been taken on these assessments.

The FBI should identify and address inconsistencies in its reevaluation of closed assessments. We found inconsistencies in the scope of database checks that were being conducted by some field offices when reviewing closed assessments that may implicate legal, policy, and civil liberties issues associated with these reevaluations. As a result, the FBI must determine if some field offices missed opportunities to identify current and accurate information about potential HVEs, or if actions taken by other offices could have implicated the civil liberties of subjects of previously closed assessments.

The FBI must address emerging challenges to assess potential HVEs. Another challenge facing the FBI arises from the increased the number of tips and leads being sent to FBI offices. We found that the FBI has decided to integrate criminal threat matters into its system for assessing counter-terrorism threats and it is in the process of updating its protocols related to this change. However, we found the FBI has not developed an effective approach in dealing with the prevalence of assessments associated with individuals with an identified mental health issue and determining whether these individuals pose an actual threat to national security or public safety.

Today’s report makes seven recommendations to assist the FBI its efforts to identify HVEs through counter-terrorism assessments.

The FBI agreed with all seven recommendations.

Report: Today’s report can be found on the OIG’s website under “Recent Reports” at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2020/a20030.pdf

Video: To accompany today’s report, the OIG has released a 2-minute video featuring the Inspector General discussing the report’s findings. The video and a downloadable transcript are available at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/multimedia/video-03-04-20.htm.

In addition to this report, in June 2018 the OIG issued to the FBI a Management Advisory Memorandum detailing the OIG’s concern about inadequate actions taken by the FBI to mitigate a particular national security threat.

OIG.Justice.gov (March, 2020) DOJ OIG Releases Report on the FBI’s Efforts to Identify Homegrown Violent Extremists Through Counterterrorism Assessments

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